The Whitlam Institute is delighted that this year’s Whitlam Oration will be delivered by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who will address guests on Australia’s Role – Human Rights in a Changing World.
On 1 September 2018 Michelle Bachelet assumed her functions as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in 1993 and Ms. Bachelet is the seventh Commissioner.
Ms. Bachelet was elected President of Chile on two occasions (2006-2010 and 2014-2018). She was the first female president of Chile. She served as Health Minister (2000-2002) as well as Chile’s and Latin America’s first female Defence Minister (2002-2004).
During her presidential tenures, she promoted the rights of all but particularly those of the most vulnerable. Among her many achievements were education and tax reforms, as well as the creation of the National Institute for Human Rights and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, as well as the establishment of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, the adoption of quotas to increase women’s political participation, and the approval of Civil Union Act legislation, granting rights to same sex couples and thus, advancing LGBT rights.
As a 23-year-old medical student, Ms Bachelet was imprisoned under Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. During the term of the Whitlam Government, she came to Australia as one of the first political refugees to this country. The Whitlam Institute is delighted to be part of her upcoming visit to Australia.